Tonight’s game against St. Louis is a fairly big one for Barry Trotz. His Predators could clinch their third straight playoff berth with a single point and, if Nashville wins outright, Trotz will record the 500th victory of his career.
That’s no small feat for the first and only head coach in Predators history. By getting 500 wins all with the same club, Trotz would join some pretty elite company, as only four coaches have ever hit that mark with one team: Al Arbour (New York Islanders), Lindy Ruff (Buffalo Sabres), Billy Reay (Chicago Blackhawks) and Toe Blake (Montreal Canadiens).
Trotz was his usual understated self when discussing the record.
“Hopefully, we can win one more game at some point,” he told The Tennessean. “I haven’t thought about it a lot. It will be a cool thing when it does happen, but I haven’t thought about it a lot.”
Other notes about Trotz (eventually) joining the 500 club:
— He’ll become just the 17th coach in NHL history accomplish the feat and, with six games left in the season, could move as high as 15 on the list. Blake currently sits in 16th with 500 wins and Pat Burns is 15th, with 501.
— Trotz would become the fourth active coach to hit 500 (Ruff, Ken Hitchcock and Joel Quenneville are the others.)
— At one point this season, there were five active 500-win coaches…but then Jacques Martin and Ron Wilson got fired.
The Buffalo Sabres have recalled forward Justin Bailey from AHL Rochester.
It’s the first time Bailey, a second-round pick in 2013, has ever been called up to the NHL. The 20-year-old joins the big club after piling up 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last eight games for the Americans.
Most Sabres fans will know that Bailey is from Buffalo (technically, Williamsville), the son of former Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey. (To learn more, click on this Buffalo News story from July.)
The Sabres play Thursday in Philadelphia, where Bailey will reportedly make his NHL debut.
To make room for Bailey on Buffalo’s roster, Zemgus Girgensons (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.
Thing have gone from bad to weird in Minnesota, where embattled Wild coach Mike Yeo was “disappointed” to see Zenon Konopka’s rabbit holding a sign that read, “YEO MUST GO.”
Hey, we told you things had gotten weird.
Konopka, a former Wild player, took to Twitter last night after Minnesota’s latest loss.
Here’s what Konopka tweeted:
And what did Yeo think about that?
“I really don’t care what he says,” he told the Star Tribune, apparently adding with a laugh, “I will say I was very disappointed to see Hoppy holding that sign.”
Now, according to the newspaper’s Michael Russo, “Konopka and Yeo had a lot of issues behind the scenes and that’s why [Konopka] ended up on waivers two Januarys ago.”
Still, that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of Wild fans agree with Hoppy, er, Konopka, and it doesn’t change the fact that the Wild could really, really use a win tomorrow at home to Washington.
Nice work from Artem Anisimov and Matt Niskanen this week, but Connor McDavid‘s tally is on a different level.
You can pretty much bank on McDavid being in Goals of the Year, too. Just saying.
Laurent Brossoit is getting another crack at the NHL.
On Wednesday, the Oilers announced they demoted Anders Nilsson — who, earlier this year, was carrying the starting gig in Edmonton — and recalled Brossoit from AHL Bakersfield.
Brossoit, 22, is an interesting story. Taken in the sixth round of the 2011 draft (164th overall), he’s really made strides over the last year. He made his big-league debut at the end of last season and performed extremely well, making 49 saves on 51 shots in a loss to San Jose.
This year, Brossoit was named an AHL All-Star. He’s posted a 14-8-3 record for the Condors thus far, with a 2.70 GAA and .921 save percentage.
As for Nilsson, his demotion comes after losing the starting gig to Cam Talbot. Nilsson has also struggled to find the good form shown in November, when he made 10 starts and posted a .915 save percentage.
In his last outing, the lanky Swede allowed three goals on 10 shots in an embarrassing 8-1 loss to the Isles.